Thursday, January 18, 2007

My Walk in the Park

Hello. My name is Emily, and I am directionally challenged.

Nevermind my years of claiming that my dad has a great internal compass that I must have inherited. I have none of that. The boyfriend has been right all this time. I couldn't find my way out of a paper bag with a map.

So, it was my birthday, and I decided to take a half day off of work. I mean, if you're not going to slack on your birthday, when can you slack? The day was beautiful. It was definitely cold, but sunny...I didn't want to spend the afternoon doing chores, or running errands…so I decided to take my dog on a long walk through Fort Harrison State Park.

I know, I know. Emily is boring. Whatever. It's my birthday and I'll walk my dog if I want to.

After about an hour or so, my knee started to ache, so I decide it's time to head home. As we exit the woods (from the meandering path we had chosen to take) we were on a paved trail, faced with a sign listing three pieces of information:

<--Harrison Trace-->
<--Delaware Lake
Duck Pond-->

I remembered passing a lake on my way in, but seemed to recall the lake being called "Franklin Lake." I had made certain to pay special attention for just this occasion – I didn't want to get lost. It was certainly Franklin Lake. Besides, I 100% remembered passing the entrance for Duck Pond.

My decision made, I headed left and immediately came upon a jogger dressed in blue from head to toe. As he passed us heading in the opposite direction, he said a cheery, "Hello."

How can you be "cheery" and "jogging" at the same time? I have no idea.

As we continued, I started to feel like perhaps we were heading in the wrong direction. Call it a hunch. (A hunch based on the facts that nothing looked familiar and all references to "Duck Pond" seemed to have disappeared.) Nevermind - it's a state park. I can't get THAT lost. Eventually, I'll see something that will look familiar.

My "hunch" was solidified into certainty when we suddenly came upon a familiar cheerful jogger heading towards us. "Hi again!"

DAMNIT! This is a loop. All of a sudden, the feeling that I was going the wrong way made sense. That's false advertising. "Harrison Trace" should be renamed "Harrison Loop." I demand a change!!

Now the big question. Soldier on, or turn back. I had walked (limped) for about a mile now, and it been about 30 minutes since I told the boy I was heading home. I certainly couldn't sit down and wait for rescue (though that was what my knee voted for.) I'll soldier on. It can't be much further, right?

30 minutes later with my knee locked up completely, I was by Delaware Lake where my car was parked. Apparently aging had affected my memory – but, I mean, I can understand the association…Delaware and Franklin – they were both presidents, right? Right?

When I had FINALLY seen the lake from the trail, I refused to take any more turns and headed straight for it. As I passed the last turn on the paved trail that I refused to take, I saw the sign that I had originally been facing…about 50 feet away.

On my way out, I checked the map. "Harrison Trace" is a loop two miles in length.

Ashamed, I called my dad to admit that even though I'm an excellent navigator with a map in hand, I do not have any of his inherent directional capabilities. He commented that it was a shame that I hadn't had my mother with me.

"Why is that?"

"You could have just gone in the opposite direction she did and found your way with no problem."

Well, at least I know it comes from somewhere...

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